Commentary By Donna Westfall – May 13, 2022
The majority of candidates running for office are in favor of the 1% sales tax called Measure R.
From the Del Norte Country Board of Supervisors meeting July 28, 2020 which you can pull up on YouTube, county resident, Linda Sutter (who happens to be Treasurer of the Crescent City-Del Norte County Taxpayers Association), made this public comment: To which former CAO, Jay Sarina responded Listen to audio here:
In addition, his quote was also published by Reporter, Jessica Cejar in Wild Rivers Outpost dated July 28, 2020, article titled, “Supervisors Approve Tax Measure Resolution; Proposed 1 Cent Increase Goes to Voters in November.”
Here’s that quote: “The revenue the 1 cent sales tax increase generates will not be used for salaries and benefits, County Administrative Officer Jay Sarina told supervisors. Sarina said it would also be up to voters to decide when the tax should end.
Even though I was instrumental in collecting nearly 900 signatures (only 416 required) on the Repeal of Measure R to be put on the June 2022 ballot, when the BOS announced they would be delaying the ballot issue until the November 2022 ballot, that was another underhanded blow to the taxpaying public.
Measure R passed by less than 1% in November 2020. Had their Robo Calls told prospective voters that the money would be used for salaries and benefits I doubt the measure would have passed.
After a year of collecting sales tax, in January, 2022, what was the first thing the BOS voted on regarding the expenditure of Measure R monies:
Giving raises and hiring more government workers.
Let’s turn our attention to the January 25, 2022 BOS Consent Agenda Item #18:
*All Appointed Department heads will receive a seven (7%) salary increase.
Consent Agenda Item #19:
*All Assistant/Deputy Department heads will receive a seven (7%) salary increase.
Add to that excellent benefits.
How do you feel about being lied to by our elected government?
Packing the consent agenda’s is an issue that county resident Branden Bieber has been taking the BOS to task about. Again, on January 25th, Linda Sutter was the only person from the public to speak-up from the public about the sneaky way our BOS passed pay raises. Then, let’s not forget all the new hires to be paid for with Measure R monies.
Refer to Samuel Strait’s article titled, “For Local Government It’s All About The Money” published April 12, 2022.
*about the purpose of the sales tax and – that it would not be used for salaries/benefits. What ever happened to fixing the road first?
*about it being up to the voters to decide when the tax should end.
Have no doubt that Supervisor 3rd District, Chris Howard has no problem with this and can explain it away most eloquently. He is joined by the four other supervisors currently sitting alongside him.
Here’s a list of the current candidates in favor of keeping the sales tax:
Incumbent, Chris Howard
These are the only Candidates that have expressed repealing Measure R:
- Joe “Hank” Akin
- Joey Borges
- David Markel
- Dean Wilson
It is disheartening to see the local Republican Party endorsing Chris Howard, Patty Adams and Dave Jones. Further, ask Chair of the Republican Central Committee (RCC) Karen Sanders why she would not support the repeal? I did and she said, “No comment.” The only conclusion one can draw is that our local RCC is for bigger government and higher taxes. How can anybody take them seriously?
In our area, nobody seems to know how many businesses closed due to the Pandemic.
In the Smith River Community Center debate between Chris Howard, Frank Magarino and Hank Akins, I asked Chris how he had the unmitigated gall to support higher taxes when we already have 50 taxes and fees (I held up a poster) and we’re being taxed to death. Further I quoted him from the Hiouchi Town Hall as saying things are getting better in our County with average income up to $40,000 a year. When I pointed out that government employees make 2, 3, 4, and 5 times that amount he was quick to point out that law enforcement is making minimum wage. He said, Heidi Kunstal ($200,000 annual salary) is worth every penny. Maybe she is. Maybe she can do the same job for half the salary?
Folks, there was a time when the private sector paid better than the government sector. To offset that imbalance, government workers were given better benefits.
No more. If you want to make a decent (or indecent) wage, get a government job. Because look at our private sector. Where is it?
Candidates can recognize and regurgitate that they want businesses brought in and jobs created. When was the last time you heard about any government employee attracting new business?
What about our film industry? What film industry? Right. Nowhere to be seen.
CCTimes has created a new category: Business Spotlight. We hope to shine a light on those businesses in our community still in business And we hope to help attract new businesses.
Here’s the problem.
Brookings, Oregon has no sales tax. People from our area routinely drive up to gas up (saving over $1/gal), and shop.
Do we have to twist the arms of our elected to create an enterprise free zone? Or do we merely have to repeal the existing 1% sales tax and hope the newly elected can have the vision to do things differently from the existing mentality?